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    Silver Hornbook. An elegantly incised silver specimen with its original printed lesson sheet beneath a covering of transparent horn. English or Dutch in origin, circa 1680. Measures 4.5 inches in length (including handle) x 2.5 inches; 114 x 62 mm. The printed sheet begins with a cross (as in early examples), then upper- and lower-case alphabets (on four lines), vowels and syllabaries (on four more lines), a benediction (in two lines), and finally the Lord's Prayer (in nine lines).
    With original horn covering; darkened and with a 28 mm crack descending from top. Sheet darkened and a bit stained. Housed in full leather folding box, stamped in blind, spine elaborately gilt, itself within leather-trimmed cloth slipcase. Still a near fine example of a seventeenth century silver hornbook.

    Hornbook incised on verso with an enchanting a design of a bird about to catch an insect above a decorative design of blooming foliage. The traditional hornbook shape includes a handle with a heart-shaped opening, and it is here that the maker has stamped his initials ("W.P.") twice (at the tip on the recto, and above of heart opening on the verso).

    Andrew Tuer, in the second edition of his magisterial History of the Horn-Book (1897) discusses this specific piece on page 456. He identifies its then current owner as Mr. Frederick E. Daniel of Barrow-in-Furness, as well as reproducing the silver design on verso (cut 225). Afterwards it was in the binding collection of the great bookseller Bernard H. Breslauer. Tuer himself calls this example, "a very fine and perfect silver horn-book."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    16th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,292

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